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Tour de France stage 18 - Live coverage


Hello there and welcome along to our live coverage of the Tour de France. Stage 18 today, and it's the last mountain stage of the race, although there will be one more major GC appointment to follow this in the form of the penultimate-day time trial. After yesterday's summit finish on the Col de Portet, today we're heading up to Luz Ardiden, and not before going up and down the mighty Col du Tourmalet.

The roll-out is coming up at 13:35 local time but there's nowhere else to start than with news of a raid on the Bahrain Victorious team hotel. 

The sign-on ceremony is underway in our start city of Pau (which has a history of Tour de France doping busts). Bahrain Victorious are due to be the third-to-last team to sign on, at 13:18 local time. 

Before we get going, now's the time to catch up on yesterday's action. 

Yesterday's stage saw Richard Carapaz wheel out a hugely entertaining bluff, and that's the subject of Philippa York's latest piece for us. 

We've just had a statement in from the Marseille public prosecution office, who have confirmed they have opened an investigation into the Bahrain Victorious team alongside the OCLAESP, a body that deals with public health matters. 

EF-Nippo are currently on the stage, being presented to the crowds. Ineos are next and Bahrain will be up soon.

We've just spoken to Bahrain Victorious rider Matej Mohoric.

More from Mohoric in a second. For now, here's our story on the news that the authorities have opened a doping investigation. 

Race leader Tadej Pogacar and his UAE teammates have signed on and that's it for the pre-race podium ceremony. It's now over to the start line ahead of the roll-out.

The riders are on the move and we're about to get underway.

We're off!

Mohoric straight on the attack for Bahrain...

He said they'll be determined to perform and even said they'd be "flying" today. I kid you not. His quotes in full just around the corner. 

Mohoric is away with Chris Juul-Jensen (BikeExchange) and Sean Bennett (Qhubeka Assos)

Cyril Barthe (B&B Hotels) sets off in pursuit.

Bahrain's polka-dot jersey wearer Poels now heads into a counter attack.

The Poels move is brought back as Geoghegan Hart appears at the head of the bunch. Barthe is reeled in too.

Attack from Alaphilippe. Obviously

The three leaders hit the early cat-4 climb of the Côte de Notre-Dame de Piétat with a lead of half a minute over Alaphilippe.

The bunch is 10 seconds behind the world champion and it's fragmenting now as they hit the climb.

As promised, here are the full Mohoric quotes

Juul-Jensen leads the front three over the top of that short early climb. 

Alaphilippe follows alone at 30 seconds.

Wout van Aert is in a nine-man group just off the front of the bunch, but the gap is minimal and it'll be back together on this short downhill.